I have been using Windows (8 then 10) in Parallels on a Mac for years. It has always been very fast.

Over 3 MacBook Air 11" with (2 then 4Gb RAM). Over many versions of MacOS and 2 versions of Windows.

I recently got a 12" MacBook (8Gb RAM) - and the VM also ran fine there. That was until I enabled retina mode in the VM. Then Parallels got slow - often locking up for 10 seconds.

So I spoke to Parallels and they couldn't fix it so I tried VMWare. It is a little better but also locks up from time to time in retina mode.

If you look at Geekbench the 12" is around 3000 - which is within 10% the Geekbench score of low-end MacBook i5 Pro 13" 2015 - and on par with Airs.

Is this a driver issue - or does retina just require a lot more speed?

Would a high-end new MacBook Pro likely fix this?

Has anyone had these issues and found a way to overcome them?

1 Answer 1


I figured this out after a long time.

In MacOS under 'displays' I had 'More Space' selected under resolution - rather than 'Default' or 'Default for display'.

This scales the screen which works OK on MacOS and in the VM in non retina mode - but this is what drastically slows things in Retina mode. Set this to Default (it's actually faster, smoother & more crisp in MacOS like that too as it's pixel perfect not scaled).

enter image description here

  • This is a ridiculous bug. Commented Mar 5, 2020 at 17:49

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